John Svihel Farms

John Svihel grew up on a farm amidst the lush fields that inspired Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.

As a high school student, John opened his first roadside produce stand. To earn money for college, he added more stands. Today, with nearly 500 acres producing sweet corn, cabbage, squash, peppers and more, John’s roadside stands have grown to 15. “I started farming because I couldn’t find the quality of produce I wanted to sell in my stands. And after earning my degree in business administration, I’ve been farming for the last 20 years,” he said.

John and his wife, Julie, now own John Svihel Farms—a member of the Food Alliance and one of the local and sustainable farms that supplies H. Brooks and Company. “I really like working with H. Brooks,” John says. “They’re quality-driven, which is different from most. And they’re willing to pay more for quality. They’re good people.”

With his roots in the land, John makes conscious decisions to avoid overuse of herbicides. “I scout for bugs, plant cover crops to protect the soil. I do whatever I can to limit the use of chemicals.” And because it works better and conserves water, John uses drip irrigation.

One of John and Julie’s signature items is their sweet corn. “We grow it strictly for flavor, not yield,” John says. “It’s sweet, extra tender and like our green beans, it’s picked by hand with care.”